Brewdog Controversy: CEO of Controversial Scottish Brewery Gives Employees £120,000 in Stock.
BrewDog, a brewery and bar operator that has been in the news frequently due to ongoing controversy, has pledged to split the income from its bars in half and give all bartenders £120,000 in shares. In light of the company’s new £1.8 billion valuation, over 1,500 hourly employees may look forward to receiving annual cash bonuses of £3,000 to $5,000.
James Watt, the company’s co-founder, and current CEO has made statements suggesting he may distribute 5% of the company to paid employees in an effort to repair the company’s damaged reputation. It has been said that “fear” is the driving force behind everything that happens at BrewDog.
The Scottish beer business had to issue an apology to ex-employees last year after allegations surfaced that Mr. Watt had created a hostile work environment in which people were intimidated and “treated like objects.” In their open letter, which included more than 60 former employees, they stated:
Timeline of controversy at BrewDog
Just two years after its founding in 2006 by Watt and Martin Dickie in Fraserburgh, the brewery’s beer was being sold in the British supermarket chain Tesco. However, in 2009, the company faced backlash for naming a beer “Speedball,” which is slang for a drug cocktail containing crack cocaine and heroin.
Another of its beers, brewed in Tokyo, was removed from sale when a court found that it violated advertising guidelines.
After advertising its 55% The End Of History beers within the bodies of dead animals, BrewDog came under fire from animal rights groups for adopting what they called “shock techniques to garner attention.”
A Scottish company hired a person who is physically short to demonstrate for a week in front of Parliament. The “world’s tiniest protest” was held to protest the 300-year-old regulation that restricted beer sales to third, half, and full pints.
BrewDog continues its headline-making ads despite being punished by the Advertising Standards Authority for using the terms “m*”, “t“, and “b” in advertising.
After a slew of anti-gay legislation was implemented in Russia, BrewDog released a beer with Andy Warhol–style reproductions of Vladimir Putin to send a message that their product is “not for gays.”
2018 and 2020
The beer the company released in honor of International Women’s Day backfired when it was targeted toward minors and was seen as encouraging harmful stereotypes about women.
The company was again found in violation of advertising laws in 2020 for labeling their alcoholic seltzer as “healthy,” despite the fact that it contains more alcohol than some of their ales.
Several former employees have accused BrewDog and its co-founder James Watt of creating a hostile work environment where they were bullied and treated “like objects,” prompting the firm to issue an apology to those individuals.
In a Twitter open letter, 61 former employees claim the company routinely ignored health and safety regulations, promoted principles it did not uphold and fostered a “toxic” work environment that contributed to the high rate of mental illness among its employees.
The letter claims that “growth at all costs” has always been the company’s top priority. Unfortunately, it was not always the case that BrewDog employees were treated with respect due to human beings.
Recently, the company was discovered to have violated US federal law by sending repeated shipments of beer containing components that had not been properly authorized.
According to the BBC, employees at BrewDog’s Ellon brewery were under pressure to expedite the shipment in 2016 and 2017, prompting the importer in the United States to claim that they had been duped by BrewDog.
The current marketing push from BrewDog has similarly been received with an icy response. After being accused of fostering a hostile work environment, it has joined up with the social media campaign #IAmWhole to promote open dialogue on mental health.
The release of its Sad AF beer coincides with a marketing campaign featuring Jordan Stephens of Rizzle Kicks, whose goal is to get people to stop bottling up their emotions and talk about mental health issues including anxiety and sadness.